Love it or hate it, Valentine’s day is just around the corner.

Consider ditching the dodgy dates, or overpriced flowers and chocolates and give some love to our best friends instead — our dogs. Yes, we all know that festivals like Valentine’s are extremely consumerist and undoubtedly make people feel a bit blue, so turn that around this year and make some heartfelt commitments to our furry friends! Here’s how:

1. Give a pawsome gift

I know I’ve just said that V-day can be a bit consumerist, but consider giving the dog lover in your life a gift that helps doggos in need. Friend of DAR Sandra Dumais and her daughter Flo have created some absolutely adorable Valentine’s Day cards, the price of which will feed a street dog for a week. Sandra’s beautiful collection Anatomy of a Rescue Dog’s Heart in our Dharma Dog Shop also has 10% off for V-day using the code Vday22. Your dog-lover lover will be totally enamored. If the way to your special someone’s heart is through their belly, an Indian cooking class might be the way to dial up the romance this year. The profits from Meals with Mini go directly to helping Indian street dogs so it’s a date with a whole lotta heart. 

2. Adopt or foster

To be clear, we don’t advocate giving the gift of a rescue dog for any special occasion. It’s a decision that needs to be thought through carefully and there’s a tonne of research you need to do before adopting any animal. But, if the festival of love is sparking a desire to do something truly lovely for another sentient being, do think of adopting a rescue dog. There are so many dogs that need a loving home, and yes, the pandemic has made international adoption trickier, but not impossible. If adoption is not on the table for you, fostering is such a rewarding way to express your love by being that halfway house for a rescue who badly needs a safe place for a while. Get in touch about local or international adoption or contact your local shelter to find out what their needs are. 

3. Volunteer at your local shelter or remotely

Give your love to dogs by giving your time, if your circumstances won’t allow you to have a dog at home. Most shelters rely on volunteers to do the day to day running, and it doesn’t always have to be a rescue centre which is geographically close. There are loads of ways you can help dog rescues — with fundraising, communications, marketing, admin or IT. If you have some skills you think could be useful, reach out and see if you can spread the love by devoting a bit of time to a great cause.

4. Donate or give a charity gift

There’s nothing wrong with a good old fashioned charity gift. If the special someone in your life is a dog lover, it’s very possible they might appreciate a donation in their name or a charity gift where the money goes towards food, blankets or other comfort or health-related items for the animals. Many animal charities offer these gifts on their sites and it really is such a thoughtful way to say you love someone who loves animals. 

5. Raise awareness 

Ok, it’s not typically what you think of doing for V-day but if we’re talking about how to demonstrate love, why not raise awareness of the issues that are important to you, your partner and the love of your life (your dog!)? The pandemic has caused lots of problems for street dogs all over the world, and the age-old challenges that rescue centres face are all still there. Read up about our projects and how you can help spread information about this global issue — an absolutely compassionate way to show your love to dogs this V-day. Not your usual Valentine’s Day ‘warm and fuzzy’ gifts, but if you think about how to put more love out there into the world, that will reach those lil’ furries, then these are the best gifts you can ever give!

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About the author

Vaila Erin is a writer, lover of animals, and a bit of a nomad. For her, life is about stories — observing yourself and others so that you can laugh, cry and entertain each other with its absurdities. Connect with her at or via LinkedIn.